Soweto – Orlando Pirates began life under new coach Josef Zinnbauer on a positive note with a convincing 3-1 victory over Black Leopards at Orlando Stadium.
The win lifts the Buccaneers up into fifth place on the Absa Premiership table, three points behind Bidvest Wits in fourth, while Leopards remain down in 10th.
The match started at a furious pace, with chances flying at both ends, although it wasn’t long before Pirates got the upper hand.
Vincent Pule and Innocent Maela were causing Leopards plenty of problems down the left, while Hellings Mhango also looked to be clean through on goal before a marginal offside call spoiled the party.
Bucs were soon controlling over 70% of the possession, and that dominance translated into their opening goal on 22 minutes as Maela, who had been a constant danger throughout, got the ball into the back of the net via a deflected shot off Leopards defender Chris Katjiukua.
Five minutes later the home side should have doubled their lead after Pentjie Zulu gave the ball away cheaply to Mhango. The Malawian international fed it to Pule, who could not find the target and flashed the ball across the face of goal instead.
Chances continued to come with regularity, with Mhango trying his luck after a well-timed run before Onassis Mntambo unleashed a thunderous strike from long range.
Leopards had their chances to equalise too, with a couple of decent opportunities falling to talented midfielder Lesedi Kapinga within the space of minutes, though the Pirates defence stood firm.
Six minutes before the break, a free-kick delivery found Pule, who forced a fantastic save out of Leopards ‘keeper Jonas Mendes with his long-range strike.
Pirates quickly picked up where they left off as the second half got underway, but to everyone’s surprise Leopards were the ones who scored next.
It was a beautiful first-time shot from Musonda Mwape that did the trick after Kapinga received the ball from Thuso Phala down the right and played the ball across goal.
But Leopards’ comeback lasted all of two minutes when Pirates hit back through Mhango, who fired the ball past Mendes after being teed up by substitute Luvuyo Memela.
Ten minutes later, Pirates were awarded a penalty by referee Abongile Tom after Mendes appeared to bring down Mhango as he was trying to round him.
Stepping up himself to take the kick, Mhango fired it in under the crossbar to make it 3-1.
There was no way back for the visitors from there and though they kept fighting until the end, Pirates held on to claim a comfortable three points and hit the ground running under their new German coach.
Published at Sat, 21 Dec 2019 18:10:45 +0000